Trackers moves far beyond tracking in the wild places of South Africa. It expands the meaning to people and machines tracking in every conceivable way. Befitting a land that is rapidly being urbanized most of the tracking takes place in the huge metropolitan area of Capetown.
There is the traditional tracking of wild animals in the African bush.
There is the tracking of vehicles across the vast spaces of South Africa by keeping them in sight.
There is tracking of vehicles in rural areas by anticipating which, of only a few possible roads, could be used.
Moving into the contemporary urban environment there is tracking done by teams of cars following cars.
There is tracking of vehicles by transmitters placed upon them.
There is tracking on foot in the city where visual contact must be maintained for little to no spoor is left by someone walking the paved streets of modern cities.
There is tracking of people by old fashioned observation from nearby buildings.
There is tracking of telephones with electronic intercepts.
There is tracking through talking with friends and enemies.
There is tracking through sleeping with a source and listening to pillow talk.
There is tracking through informants within organizations.
There is tracking through computers searching the world wide web.
There is tracking through the satellites continually orbiting the earth.
There is tracking through reading newspapers and magazines for information on those being tracked.
There is tracking through searching government records.
There is tracking through breaking into buildings.
There is tracking through searching desks and computers.
There is tracking through the mind with skilful questions and brutal demands for knowledge.
There is tracking through the sharing, often reluctantly, of information between powerful organizations.
There is tracking through careful examination of financial records.
There is tracking through the sources of funds in bank accounts.
There is tracking through hidden microphones.
There is tracking through the closed circuit cameras that inhabit every city.
There is tracking through the examination of personal public records.
There is tracking through the study of bodies.
There is tracking through examination of wallets, clothing and other personal items.
Within the book everyone is tracking somebody.
Among the characters are Lemmer and Emma from Blood Safari. Lemmer is an important character but he does not dominate the book. Lemmer is a professional tracker of men and women.
At the heart of the story is Milla Strachan, a 40 year old housewife from the Capetown suburb of Durbanville. Leaving a loveless marriage she sets out on a new life that takes her places beyond her imagination. She becomes an unexpected modern tracker.
Meyer has lyrical descriptions within the book such as Milla’s diary entries on tracking:
Leaving tracks, creating some impression on the surface of this earth, is a way of saying ‘I was here’. Something to give meaning to this fleeting existence ….. How do you leave a track, a trail, a spoor? …. Is that why I want to write a book, my only (last!) chance to leave something tangible, a small scrap of evidence that I was here?
We all want to leave tracks for those that come behind us. Blogs are a 2012 spoor to be tracked through the virtual world of the internet. We leave electronic marks so our reader trackers can come to know us.
It is a spectacular book. I understand why it has been an award winner. There is significant but not overwhelming violence. Unlike Blood Safari I never felt preached at by the author. Once again I appreciate Jose Ignacio at his blog, The Game’s Afoot, and Bernadette at her blog, Reactions to Reading, for recommending the book. I will read more of Deon Meyer. (Jan. 26/12)